Adidas to 'block' number 44 from Germany kits over semblance to Nazi 'SS' symbol

Adidas has said it will "block" Germany's football kits featuring the number 44 over concerns it resembles the Nazi 'SS' symbol.

The new kits were launched last month as Germany beat France 2-0 in a friendly and will be worn at Euro 2024, taking place in Germany this summer.

However, similarities were flagged with the font of the number four, specifically when the figures are side by side where they resemble the lightning bolt style rune designed for the Schutzstaffel (SS) by Walter Heck in the 1930s.

The SS was responsible for numerous crimes against humanity under Hitler's Nazi regime, including the "Final Solution" - the systemic genocide of millions of Jews across Europe from 1941 to 1945.

The German Football Association (DFB) said it had checked the numbers from zero to nine, then submitted the numbers 1-26 to UEFA for review.

In a statement on X, DFB said: "None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the creation process of the jersey design.

"Nevertheless, we take the comments very seriously and do not want to provide a platform for discussions... we will develop an alternative design for the number four and coordinate it with UEFA."

Adidas - DFB's official supplier - earlier said it would remove the number 44 from their range of customisation options and blocked personalising the shirts on its online store.

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"We will block the number 44 as quickly as possible," spokesman Oliver Bruggen told German media.

"As a company, we actively oppose xenophobia, antisemitism, violence and hatred in any form. Any attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values ​​as a brand and we firmly reject any suggestions that this was our intention."

DFB previously announced American sportswear giant Nike would become their official supplier from 2027 based on financial reasons - a move ending a 70-year partnership with Adidas.